Stress. It’s the shadow that follows us everywhere we go. And like the famous Robert Lewis Stevenson poem, My Shadow, “…he hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play, and can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.”

Getting a break from our day-to-day stress-inducing routine requires more than just a day off of work. Our little shadow is in serious need of playtime in order for us to truly get the mental health break we need.

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Cooper Quail Consulting understands the need for companies to provide opportunities for their employees to relieve workplace stress. They know the importance of creating workplaces that are viewed as inviting places to be in order to retain the best and brightest. Here, they offer ideas for employers and employees alike to take their little shadows out of some well-deserved mental health breaks.

  • Go take a hike. It’s what your mother told you for years, walking outside is good for you. Combining your walk with being out in nature gives you a double shot of endorphins, that feel-good hormone our brain makes for us. Hiking or forest bathing, which involves just being in nature and soaking up all it has to offer, is a way of taking those walks to the next level.
  • Taking that cause you’re passionate about and turning it into your own non-profit can be the most beneficial of all the ways to feel better about yourself while making a difference in the lives of others. Whether it’s local, national, or global, it’s not difficult to start your own non-profit organization.
  • Plan a reunion of all your old play buddies. Get everyone together for a day at the park to roller skate, have a game of softball, or just play music and dance the way you used to, free and confident. Trying to find former high school classmates you lost touch with can be like searching for a needle in a haystack, particularly if you moved away after graduation. Fortunately, you can use a search engine to look for your fellow Phoenix high school graduates. Simply type in the necessary name and graduation date, and you’ll get quick results with options to reach out to long-ago friends.
  • Unplugging from everything can be hard to do when you’ve been tethered to the internet nearly every waking hour – for work, school, socializing, or keeping up with the news. Digital Detox rental homes are available for those who need a break from the internet in order to get back in touch with nature and themselves. Or get some camping supplies and leave your tech at home. You’ll need a way of getting in touch with the outside world for safety reasons, but more than that will defeat the purpose.
  • Tai Chi. Originating thousands of years ago as a martial arts practice, Tai Chi is noted for how well it integrates physical exercise and mental wellbeing. Its slow, deliberate movements focus on proper body alignment, breathing, and relaxation. The same applies to yoga and both can be done outdoors, exponentially increasing their health and wellness benefits.
  • Look into getting or furthering your degree. You can find several online degree programs. Ensure the one you decide on is accredited so you can get the proper funding or student loans. Research has shown that people who study online actually outperform those who learn in person and you’ll be creating a better future for yourself, which is a nice long-term mental health outcome.

Short-term breaks like stopping every few hours for a walk, longer-term breaks like a weekend away from it all, and mindfulness vacations are all necessary parts of preserving our mental health. Don’t look at them as though they are unproductive times. In fact, if you do it right, they can be some of the most productive activities you can spend your time doing.

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